Book Love! The Pollan Family Table

One of my personal projects last year was to really learn to cook, or at least expand my rather limited repertoire. What I have previously lacked in cooking expertise, I have always made up for with a rather extensive (and enviable) cookbook collection that I rarely use: Classics such as The Joy of Cooking and my grandmother’s copy of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook; Tastes & Tales from Texas and Roundup Cookin’ for a taste of home; vegetarian cookbooks New Vegetarian and The New Moosewood Cookbook;and my favorites, Intercourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook and the aptly named The Fear of Cooking. Put off by ingredients I can’t pronounce, and kitchen tools and utensils I didn’t even know existed, it’s been awhile since I stumbled upon a new cookbook that I could really sink my teeth into (so to speak), until now. The Pollan Family Table is not your typical celebrity cookbook. This is immediately apparent from the foreword by Michael Pollan. Yes that Michael Pollan. The legendary food writer and journalist (Omnivore’s Dillemma, In Defense of Food) is the brother in this Pollan family (also well known for Pollan sister, Tracy, and her husband, Michael J. Fox). Michael Pollan quickly sets the tone for the book written by his sisters and mother: nostalgic for the days of sit down family dinners, passionate about tradition and fresh, local ingredients, and ultimately practical–every recipe can be put on the table in less than an hour. The book itself is stunning: a clean, crisp layout and gorgeous photos. And the 110 recipes are simple enough that I found that I often already had all of the ingredients I needed–the piéce de résistance for me in any cookbook. Tonight I made the Pollan’s Panfried Tofu with Chimichurri sauce. There were no leftovers. Need I say more?